Recently I happened to watch a video of a science fiction writer and a screenwriter called Arthur C Clarke, an Englishman who envisioned the technological revolution that we experience today.
It was in 1945 that he predicted the concept of geostationary satellites for a globally connected world of communication. In those days we were not even sure about sending something into outer space.
This particular video was recorded in 1964, and in it, he says there will be a day a brain surgeon in Edinburgh will be operating remotely on a patient in New Zealand, and it’s possible when that time comes the whole world will shrink to a point where the traditional role of the city as a meeting place for people won’t make any sense.
70 years back he predicted that in the future to do any kind of business, people won’t commute, they’ll just communicate, people will travel only for pleasure, and do all their work from home. Another interesting thing he says is that any person will be able to communicate with any other person without knowing their physical location anywhere else in the world. In today’s world, if you know the cellphone number of a person or if that person is connected to you in a messaging app like WhatsApp, we don’t need to know the geographical location but communication is just a fingertip away.
In his book “Profiles of the Future,” he mentions many scientific innovative ideas that are a reality now. He writes about machines that can translate one language to the other like the translation apps available to us now. He also writes about a lot of mind-blowing things like how a man can travel from one pole to the other in a heartbeat. We haven’t advanced to that extent yet but it seems to be possible in the coming years.
Just like Einstein once said, imagination is more important than knowledge, and the perceptive imagination of people like Clarke become a touchstone even for scientists.
The book “Profiles of the Future” has amazing essays, read it if you are interested in such ideas. Today I am grateful to Arthur C Clarke and his wonderful works which have amused me.
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